Nothing like a little snowfall to make us long for Spring. Yes, we actually had some snow this week. And yes, we're all ready for Spring. Just look at our paintings—we may start out with seasonal women (Elaine T's Rocky Horror Halloween show opener, Sara's statuesque Christmas celebrant and Tony's bride-to-be), but we quickly move to sunny landscapes, verdant greens and lush flowers. But let's not spend a lot of time chatting. There are so many wonderful paintings ahead.
And when all is done, when you've seen Tony's exercise eggs, Ken's plaids and Ellen's lively dry brush landscapes and seascapes, you can see more experimentations with gum arabic—yes, Vivian has joined the gum arabic club! You'll see the results and and hear some of the conclusions we've come to.
Here's fair warning—we only have one more class and we'll be off for a month. But that doesn't mean a stop to the fun! We'll list a few activities at the end where you can see us, hear us or sketch with us. Grab a pencil and be prepared to mark your calendars.
Gum Arabic update. Yes, we have another member of the gum arabic club—Vivian's now one of us! What that means is that we have a third opinion. In the gull painting below, she used a fairly heavy concentration of gum arabic on the bird and reports that it made the paint feel sticky and viscous. The second picture below is a side view of the gull. It's completely dry. Yet notice how shiny the paint is when mixed with gum arabic? Probably the most dramatic demonstration of the gloss this adds to watercolor.
Moving to the last painting, we see the final result of Elaine O's baby portrait paint-off. The baby on the right is done with gum arabic; the baby on the left without. Notice how the brush strokes stand out? The paint doesn't move or blend as well as the non-G.A. side. It's also deeper and richer. The non-G.A. baby took two or more layers to achieve the same saturation as one stroke with gum arabic.
Some observations: Gum arabic seems best suited to a painting style or subject that's loose and definite—one where the artist goes in boldly with intent, where each brush stroke is well thought out and matters. It's not conducive to a style that relies on many layers and glazes to slowly build a subject.
Using it makes the paint stickier and less fluid. The stokes are bolder and brighter; yet they lift more easily, too. And after the painting dries, gum arabic leaves a gloss that ranges from a soft sheen to a varnish like shine. Not for every painting, but definitely a tool worth knowing!
Save the Dates:
Spring break sketch party—You're invited! While we're on spring break, we plan to casually meet for some sketching beginning on Saturday, March 9. It's too cold for cemetery sketching, so we'll meet at 10am inside the Lincoln Park Conservatory (where we know the horticulturist). We'll sketch and share and have a great time. Imagine how good we'll be after a month of Saturdays? If not, at least we'll have had a great time! Join us!
March 16—Catch Elaine T. and Midnight Madness at the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Tickets are $10 and the show begins at midnight at the Music Box theater (pre-show activities begin at 11:30). For more information, go to their website.
March 17—Hear Steve M. and the DePaul Community Chorus at their spring concert: Mozart–Great Mass in C Minor. It's beautiful, uplifting and FREE! Learn more here.
See you next week.